Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Inauguration Day: Compare and Contrast

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jan 19, 2017 2:27:00 PM

Tomorrow, January 20th, is America’s 58th Presidential Inauguration. Students are sure to have heard about it from their family or the media; your school district may even encourage watching the event on TV during the school day. Acknowledge your students’ curiosities and provide them with basic inauguration facts by comparing and contrasting the past

First, ask your students for basic information about this year’s inauguration:

  • When will it take place?
  • Where will it take place?
  • Who is the next president?

Students can also visit kids.gov, a federal government website designed specifically for kids, to find information about the inauguration. Visiting this website will fulfill the Common Core State Standard to “integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.9

Next, tell the students that you will be examining American life in 1789, when George Washington became the first President of the United States. George Washington from the Hameray Biography Series describes Washington’s inauguration on p. 30:


george_washington_180.jpgBIO_GEORGE WASHINGTON_INSIDE (dragged)-2.jpg


Ask students to compare and contrast George Washington’s inauguration to tomorrow’s inauguration. You may want to create a Venn diagram to record the similarities and differences.

Use the rest of George Washington’s biography to get a glimpse into American life in the late 1700s. How was the late 1700s different from your life today?

  • p. 6: the calendric system
  • p. 9: American schools
  • p. 17: Fashion
  • p. 19: The political status of colonies
  • p. 30: The U.S. capital

By using the Hameray Biography Series to compare and contrast, your students will learn real-world knowledge while fulfilling Common Core State Standards!


Click the images below to download the Hameray Biography Series Teacher's Guides for George Washington.

Bio TG


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Topics: Common Core, Biography Series, Social Studies, Compare and Contrast, Election

Election Vocabulary with the Biography Series

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Nov 3, 2016 3:01:00 PM


In just five days, American voters will elect the 45th President of the United States. Everywhere we turn, the media bombards us with the latest campaign news, polls, and political advertisements. Our students also want to take part in the fervent discussions taking over our country, but they are still too young to actually cast a ballot.

Especially in this year’s controversial election, discussing politics in the classroom is complicated by the need to respect the different beliefs of all students and their families. How can you, as an educator, healthily and productively teach students the knowledge needed to become responsible citizens?

A great way to address the current campaign in the classroom is to turn back into history. The Hameray Biography Series features the stories of three American presidents: George Washington, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Reading past and current presidents’ stories will circumvent heated debates about the 2016 candidates while still providing students the opportunity to learn about the U.S. Presidential election. 

Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan’s biographies devote multiple chapters to their presidential campaign. Each book also includes a glossary that allows students to familiarize themselves with this informational text feature.


Using the glossary and relevant chapters in the book, ask students to create a list of election vocabulary and their definitions. Underneath each word, have them write examples about how the vocabulary word relates to Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan.

Example: Campaign- the competition between political candidates.

Ronald Reagan talked about the danger of the Soviet Union during his campaign.

Barack Obama began his campaign in February 2007.


obama-glossary (dragged).jpg

This exercise will help students draw connections between two historical figures through specific information in the text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3). The two biographies also include the following election vocabulary words:



Concession speech









Vice President



In a follow-up class discussion, ask your students about the current election using their newly learned vocabulary: Who are the candidates? When is Election Day this year?

Encourage your students to watch the news with their family on November 8th. They’ll appreciate how classroom literacy directly relates to important current events happening in the country! 


Click the image below to download the Teacher's Guide for Ronald Reagan and for Barack Obama.

Bio TG     Bio TG

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Biography Series, Social Studies, Election

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